Monday, 1 February 2010
Review: Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: February 4th, 2010
Grade rating: B+/A-
Nikki Maxwell is not popular, in fact Nikki Maxwell is the opposite of popular; she's a total dork! But Nikki's hoping that by moving to a new school she might just stand a chance of making some friends and leaving her old lame-ways in the past. But life is never that simple! Follow Nikki's life through sketches, doodles and diary entries as she starts her new school, battles with her mum for an iPhone and meets her arch-nemisis, the school's queen bee, MacKenzie.
I'm nowhere near the target age for this book, but I absolutely loved it! It's such an enjoyable read, with very funny dialogue and brilliant artwork, which is drawn by Rachel Renee Russell herself. While reading Nikki's diary entries, I cringed, I laughed out loud, and I relived a few of my own disastrous school days as a 14-year-old. Traumatising, I know.
Dork Diaries chronicles Nikki Maxwell's experiences at a new school, through notes, daily diary entries, doodles and drawings. Her embarrassing stories are there for everyone to read (and see!), as well as her feud with mean girl MacKenzie and crush on budding photographer Brandon. Her new best friends Chloe and Zoey -- self-confessed bookworms -- are great supporting characters, and provide Nikki with some much needed life advice.
Russell has her writing spot-on when it comes to her target market, with lots of teen slang, believable scenarios and contemporary references. Oh, and anyone who can make a poem ('The Biology of my Heartbreak') about a dead frog make me laugh for ten minutes deserves a comedy award. Of course, there's room for improvement: more character development, less use of capitals and no algebra problems (eurgh!) would be top of my list, though these minor complaints are nothing to write home about.
As the front of the book says, it's Diary of a Wimpy Kid for girls, but it also reminded me of a US version of Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging. It's almost as funny, and definitely just as awkward. I loved the format, I loved the artwork, I loved the story, and I can't wait for Dork Diaries: Party Time, which is published later in the year.